Conversion tracking in AdWords is one of the most important features in order to understand how (and if) your ad spend is working (ie. Getting a positive ROI).
You can track forms filled out, sales and even more advanced metrics like 3+ pageviews and phone calls.
There are a few different ways to set these up. I’ll walk you through the most common ways to track your desired goals and show you how to report on multiple conversions.
Lead Form Tracking In AdWords
Tracking form leads is probably the most common type of conversion tracking.
You can track someone clicking the ‘Submit’ button or track someone visiting a ‘thank you’ page after they submit the form.
Quick tip: never use the word ‘Submit’ for your form’s button. It’s just an example.
I recommend tracking visits to a thank you page for a couple of reasons:
- You don’t have to worry about people double-clicking.
- Much less likely for bots or accidental clicks to register a conversion
You should have a thank you page for a better user experience anyway. They are already interested in what you have to offer, so this is a great chance to answer questions, up- or down-sell, ask for social media follows, give them more relevant information, etc.
So how do you track form submissions?
There are two ways, and each has their own pros and cons:
- AdWords Conversion Tracking
- Analytics Goals imported into AdWords
AdWords conversion tracking is built in. When you track conversions this way, they are reported to the interface quickly – usually within a few minutes. I used to use (and recommend) going this route. The problem I ran into was that you then had to create an identical ‘goal’ in Analytics. If there were ever any changes to the site, you would have to remember to update both of them. Sounds simple, but inevitably one was usually forgotten.
Tracking goals in Google Analytics (GA) is much easier, more powerful, and more flexible. The problem, until recently, was that it could take up to 72 hours for goals to be imported into AdWords. Google recently updated this feature and at most, it takes 9 hours now.
They have also expanded the AdWords-Analytics link to be much easier to set up. Since you (should) already have GA installed, creating a goal for example.com/thanks/ is much easier than getting a conversion tracking code installed in many cases.
You can also create goals based on user engagement. Things like:
- Visiting multiple pages in a visit
- Downloading PDFs
- Watching videos
These can be great micro conversions to track if you sell a higher-priced product or have a longer sales cycle. Getting a little data quickly can be a great way to gauge performance prior to the final sale.
Call Tracking In AdWords
There are a few different ways to track phone calls through AdWords. Someone might click your call extension on a mobile device. This is commonly referred to as Click-To-Call.
You might also have someone click through to your website and call the phone number listed. This will require the number to dynamically switch to a call tracking number so that it can be tracked back to your ad.
It’s even possible that someone dials your call extension number when shown on a desktop or laptop.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways that people can get ahold of your business. I’ll show you how to set-up and monitor these conversions:
Click-To-Call is probably the easiest to set-up and track within AdWords. There are actually 3 ways to enable this feature:
- Call Extensions
- Call-only campaigns
- Location Extensions
Location extensions won’t let you track phone calls as conversions and call-only campaigns seem to be hit or miss, so let’s focus on call extensions.
From the ad extension tab, select Call extensions. Click the red ‘+ Extension’ button.
Click ‘New phone number’ (toward the bottom) and you will see a screen that looks like this:
In the screenshot, I’ve already selected ‘Show my ad with A Google forwarding phone number’ which automatically checks ‘Count calls as phone call conversions’. If you don’t use a forwarding number, you won’t be able to track calls.
By default, Google will count calls over 60 seconds as a phone call conversion and automatically create a new conversion for you. If you want to change the call length that counts as a conversion, you can click ‘Mange conversion actions’ in this screen or from the Tools -> Conversions drop-down.
This is what one of my ‘calls from ads’ conversion settings looks like:
Keep in mind, if you have both call and location extensions enabled, your address from the location extension and the number from the call extension will be shown together.
You can find more information about calls from ads on the Google support site.
Learn more about tracking calls from ads here.
Calls From Website
Like a lot of the other sections, there are 2 main ways to track calls from your website:
- Google’s built-in solution
- 3rd party call tracking software
Again, there are pros and cons to each.
The big pro for Google’s website call tracking is that it’s free. It requires a little setup, which you can read more about here. Where I have ran into issues is when you have multiple locations or phone numbers on one website, there is no way to specify which tracking number to use.
There are lots of useful features with third party call tracking that you don’t get with the built in solution. The cost is minimal so I definitely recommend something like CallRail. It makes set-up much easier, plus you can record phone calls, set different phones to ring and much more. Because the integration begins with Analytics, you will be able to see call data in both Analytics and AdWords.
Tracking Sales In AdWords
Tracking sales is similar to form conversion tracking, but in order to record the dollar amount of your sale, you will need to pass that value from the sales/shopping cart page to the confirmation/thank you page. Here is Google’s support article about dynamically tracking sales values:
Here is Google’s support article about dynamically tracking sales values.
Let’s explain this picture:
- Someone clicks your ad.
- When they reach your website, a GCLID (Google Click ID) is saved as a cookie. This ties that user back to the ad they clicked. It doesn’t matter how many pages they view.
- When they submit a form, the GCLID is passed in a hidden field to the CRM.
- When that lead is closed (you get a sale), you can upload that data back to AdWords. The GCLID will be matched up with the click and the sale value can be tied to a specific click.
Reporting On Conversions In AdWords
Imagine you are tracking form leads, call extensions and calls from website for one business. How do you see which actions are happening most often? By default, AdWords will show all conversions in combined in one column in the interface.
Let’s see how we can report on them separately:
First, we need to create custom columns.
After clicking Modify columns… you will see this screen:
Choose custom columns at the bottom and click the red + Column button.
You can name this anything you’d like. The description will show when you hover over the question mark in the interface. In this case, we will select Conversions -> Conversions.
You will then click the added Conversion in order to segment by name (see above). I chose Web Form Leads as that is the name of my conversion. Confusingly, I titled my Column and Conversion the same thing.
Also, as you might have noticed, there are many other segments and metrics you can use for custom columns. There are even math operators (+, -, x, /) to easily display specific calculations you might want quick access to.
The metric will update with the segment in parenthesis.
Repeat this process for any other conversions you have.
We end up with something like this:
The conversions column is equal to all 3 tracked conversions combine. 286+1052+1119=2457
I actually mislabeled click-to-call conversions, it includes manually dialed calls from ads as well.
At a quick glance, it’s easy to see this client gets more phone calls than form leads. We can also see that click-to-call converts at over 40% compared to the average of 11.9%. Maybe I should be experimenting with call-only campaigns.
If you segment by click type, you will see something like this:
Might be a little small, but the main thing to highlight is that you can see your mobile click-to-call stats separately. In this case, it also shows that my sitelink extensions are performing better than average as well.
Finally, if you segment by conversion name, you will see that cost per lead and conversion rate would look terrible if you aren’t tracking all possible conversions and using all the features available to you:
Have any questions about setting up or reporting on conversion tracking for AdWords? Let me know in the comments!